Q&A: How Do I Choose a Name for My Blog?

A reddit question from /u/rjspencer0925:

Question

I’ve been tooling around with the idea of starting a blog recently. The question I keep coming back to as I am putting material together is about the name of my blog. Is there a resource somewhere I can look to see what I can’t use as my name? I don’t want to infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property and potentially face legal representations in the future.

Response

This is a trademark issue. You want to try to avoid using the same or confusingly similar name (or “mark”) that someone else is already using. To provide a bit of background, there are three types of trademarks: common law, state, and federal. Federal law gives you the most protections and common law is the least.

Therefore, if you want to be very careful, you have to look in all three places. Federal trademarks are the easiest to find (one of the advantages). You can look up the name you want to use on the federal government’s trademark electronic search system (TESS). You can find it here: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database. That’s where I would start and its free.

For state and common law, its a bit trickier. Each state will have its own database and common law searching is basically checking yellow pages, domain registries, newspapers, etc. To see if a mark is in use. There are many companies that provide trademark search services, with varying degrees of sophistication.

I’ve previously written about this issue as well in The #1 Gigantic but Common Mistake People Make When Naming a Business.

Let’s Get in Touch

If you would like to ask a question about trademarks, copyrights, or online business, shoot me an email (thelawofthebrand@gmail.com) or a text (702-291-1799) or schedule a meeting.

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Leland Faux
Attorney Leland Faux blogs about trademark, copyright, and online business issues at Law of the Brand. You can submit a question by email to thelawofthebrand@gmail.com.

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